Distribution Automatique

Saturday, August 16

Thanks to Heriberto Yepez for quoting and translating my recent aphorism on his Spanish blog RealiTi


De Nick Piombino:

When publishers fail, they fail at being readers.
When readers fail, they fail at being listeners.
When writers fail, they fail at being lovers.

(Cuando los editores fallan, fallan como lectores.
Cuando los lectores fallan, fallan como interlocutores.
Cuando los escritores fallan, fallan como amantes).

Three incomplete and unsent letters to Barrett Watten- 12/9/85

Dear Barrett,

I read the piece in The New Criterion
today and I want you to know that I am
more than ever in support of your work and
its ongoing and long existing aesthetic
value. Before the publication of *This*
the world of poetry
was literally a bore and boringly
literal. How can these morons misread
you so terribly?

Dear Barrett,

Charles mentioned to me recently your
concern about the "Writers in S.F." article
in The New Criterion. This
article is ghastly. The political overtones
are horribly accusatory and menacing and
the denouncing of the language writers
(now almost as familiar as Classic Coke
on everyone's coffee table) here takes on
a jugular vein precision on a par with
the subtlety of Rambo.

Not that this is a joking matter or an
occasion to embroider smart alec journalese
responses. From a theoretical point of view,
I believe this is a perfect time to hurl
polemic back in no uncertain terms. Its days like
this that make me want to read Nietzche
again, although I'm settling for a reread
of The Prison House of Language.

I have a talk at St. Mark's
lecture series that you appeared
in- about a year ago wasn't it?

Dear Barrett,

After reading "Writers in S.F." I want to
come to San Francisco soon to deliver my lecture
"Subject to Change" which I read recently at
the St Mark's Talk Series (November 24th). I
really slammed it out if I do say so myself
(check this out with Bruce Andrews,
Charles Bernstein or James Sherry. Now that I've
heard what has been happening in the Poetry Flash
and all over the place, I'm ready to give a
lecture that will make them wonder if they'll
ever want to
write a standard sentence again. Of course
I exagerrate, but I'm serious about wanting to
come out. I may be able to get an invite
to read in Los Angeles during the same
week (I'm off from my day job the first week in
April.) I'd really also love to do a poetry
reading in San Francisco the same week.

My friend Jean Gier has kindly posted an excerpt from my book "Theoretical Objects" on Nightjar 2. Or is it *Blue Kangeroo*? Thanks, Jean!
Sunday, August 10th, the night I gave a reading with Patrick Durgin at 21 Grand, was a particularly warm night in Oakland. 21 Grand appears to be a former warehouse with virtually no ventilation, so in between readings most of the audience went outdoors for the cool air and some conversation. I was aware of this when I read so I cut my reading short. Tonight I remembered which poem it was I did not read and it seemed apt to choose this one not to read and also to post it now.


Automatic Manifesto #10 (The Unspoken)

1. Despite the unimaginable extent of what is said and what has ever
been said, the largest part of experience remains unspoken. As much as
what has long been understood maps or delimits only a small portion of
what life deems out to us every day, the unspoken persists like a
constellation of black holes in being and those that know it laugh (inside) at
every confident assertion. Don't speak of death, whose words figure largest
in the silent tomes in all the empty libraries of time. Older even than the
history of death, the unspoken longed, more than anything else, to speak,
but it can't find a place or a context to be heard. Yielding to the opaque,
wrapping itself in hidden hieroglyphs of being, incredibly the unspoken is
thought about more than anything else. A strange juxtaposition ensues. The
spoken and articulated universe somehow divides itself away from the
unknowable, or the unnameable, which turns towards otherwise
incommunicable stretches of being harboring unfathomable waters of
irrationality. The unspoken, shocked at its sudden physical disappearance,
simultaneous with its entrance into thought, like an enormous stone
monument suddenly vanished, learns a poem can carve a place for it with
words along some otherwise untracked corridors of being.

2. The louder we speak, the louder the unspoken rings in our minds. The
more clearly we articulate the known, the more insistently the unknown
asserts itself. The same is true for certainty. Here come the dynamics of
gravity, predictably hugging at our feet; a longing ensues: an unstoppable
wish to fly. Soon we are vaulting into the sky like flocks of birds, only to
find ourselves ever more vulnerable to the featureless, deadly pull of the
planet below.

If we are very observant for considerable lengths of time we might
detect a miniscule figure gesticulating weirdly in our direction, in some
kind of sign language or code that looks impossible to decipher. Go on, go
gaze at its faintly familiar expressions. It's my old friend the unspoken
making faces at me. The problem is- the translations were vague. The
mistake was to believe immediately what I imagined these odd shapes said.
True, they spoke more emphatically when I gestured back. They said, keep
going-but that isn't what I meant. But thanks for listening and
trying to understand. Thanks for tuning in. And then it goes away. So, get
out of bed, drink tea, shower, read the mail and leave. What was that and
so on.Then, what they were signalling comes back like a dream. But
something distantly understood is often what I forgot. It says: watch for
deceit, ringing so untrue. It said: same old story, deconstruct its face-
impassive as a god. It said: this was a breeze. It said: relax. Its mouth made
an O. The O said: take it. Then the spirit made a face. Easy to forget,
easier to misinterpret. It said: don't go quickly. It said: explosions. It said:
take measure. It said: embarassment hurt. It said: be kind. It said: missiles.
It said: interruptions. It said: film. It said: untranslateable. It folded into
lines and sentences. It melted into subjects. It said: include. It said: a moving
photo. Amorphous nostalgia. It said: go slowly. But I sped by. I
heard it over, I heard it under the din. It mentions what it twists.

Transitions come and go. Transitions twist like streams, then rivers
wrap around each other. Transitions live, they live to tell the tale, a
changed entity. They began as yellowing sheets in boxes.

Transitions matter. The require a code of make-believe. It said: fake it.
It led me to Orwell's flophouse. Bad history: he died in 1984.

Transitions lie. They lurk. Evelopes of sheer causality, link by link
they chain careers to fate. Faces in a shroud. Transitions hibernate. They
witness ages.

Parenthetical transitions. It said: to muster. Hypotenuse of vague
considerations and geometrical assessment, transitions animate mispellings
as a kind and gentle friend.

Transitions's symptoms, going from separation to degree, bad history
again, a professor's working hard creating lists. Transition's decisions,
transition's acquaintances, transition's movements, feelings, touch.
Prohibitado. Muy amore transitionado. Dense arrangements. It said: the
slippery slope. It said: reminders.

Transition's voices. It said: attend. It said, attend a person but within
this person is a word, within the word a wish. This inspires a shiver down
the spine.

Transition's holiday, its frame, its villains, its escapes. Selectable
locales. Transition's refusal to reveal the outcome of the tale. It said: this is
conditional. Then it pointed. The direction was not in 4 dimensions.
Paradigmatic paradoxical disjunctions. It said: be literal. It said: hear me in
the manifest. It said: I am a vapor that can move.

Friday, August 15

Nada Gordon's pristine and moving account of the blackout. I miss my friends in New York, but not New York under siege of fate again and again. Wish you and Gary and all our friends were here in beautiful Berkeley! Nada had considered coming here this month. I wish you were here, Nada, and I can't wait to see you. The sun is shining and the air is cool.

The problem of narration is
related to the [arbitrary] problem of
beginning and ending of a story.
All of us alive exist in one objective
current reality which is simultaneous from
the perspective of each individual. It is the
problem of documenting this simultaneity that
Einstein addressed himself to in measuring the
speed of light, and in this way he discovered
the relativity of light's velocity.

It is impossible to completely measure or document
a single present moment, because its
exact duplicate will never take place again. However,
according to the
model of succession, the moment under
discussion may be connected to its
antecedents and successors, a tiny leaf
in the family tree of experience.

But in Freud's view, there is an aspect of
experience which would provide
some documentation. This is the repetition compulsion.
Repeating is an aspect of remembering. [It appears
that what has been incompletely experienced
needs to be repeated] It appears that repetition can supply a
dimension that has been incompletely experienced.
[Is there a birth *pleasure*?]

The issue of evenly-hovering attention
in Spence and Schaefer. Spence against the
idea of evenly-hovering attention- which to
him seems to imply a kind of inattention,
or distracted attention.


Life itself as a kind of time travel.


*Thirty days hath September*


*The action of* perception is evolving

Free association, impressionism,
expressionism, abstract expressionism, all
these permutations of perceptual experience
have to do with the action of perception.
Van Gogh's decision to exagerrate his colors
may have in part to do with an optioning
in favor of a kind of psychological
realism. A literal faithfulness to the
actuality of perception itself in favor of an
access code that permits the viewer to
directly identify the site of the experience
historically, thereby doubly ensuring
its historical credibility. It is in the sphere
of the *authentification* of experience
and the classification and ordering
of authenticated identities that has come,
in the Twentieth Century, to be truly
brought into question. Schwitters' collages,
from this standpoint, pay heed to the
ultimate investment of human value in the
actual duration of time in the
sphere of individual identity-the private facts of
personal experience. Thus Van Gogh's
late painting of himself after his slicing
of his own ear shows this event and
its reality being accepted as faithfully as
the actual shapes of the sun's reflections on the
flowing river in "La Roubine du Roi with


The evolution of the concept of individual
identity is one of the cornerstones of
human differentiation from his and
her animal origins.
Differentiation is at
the core of evolutionary development.

1) Differentiation at the core of human development

2) sexual differentiation is the
primary differentiation

3) The development of individual identity an
expansive operation because

I) A shift in differentiation is
a shift of scale

II) Opposition affords change,
change affords movement

III) The expansion of individuality
affords a possibility of
change through identification

IV) Sameness and difference affords comparison

4) All entitiies must group together to
obtain strength

I) Strength affords security

II) Strength is a binding agent because
it supports exchange

III) Grouping affords the maximum development
of strength through exchange

5) The grouping of entities together
generates likeness

I) Likeness a source of group

II) Likeness promotes the
smoothness of exchange and connection

6) Perception of likeness and contrast
the basic aesthetic pleasure

7) Aesthetic pleasure a product of
the dynamic interchange of parts
of a whole

I) Interchange of likeness and
contrast generate new
aspects through further differentiation

8) Development of identity affords the
development of further differentiation

9) A balance between differentiation and
likeness necessary to permit continued

10) Development of identity a basis of the
development of individuality

I) Further development of identity
permits further development of the overall
possibility of individual human *experience*

11) Assertion of identity possible only
through group identification

12) Maintenance of the overall expansion of the possibility of
identity only possible through further individual differentiation

13) Expansion of identity through sexual differentiation necessitates
sexual difference

14) Reduction of sexual difference effects the
stability of roles

Moe's in Berkeley is a great bookstore. I found a copy of a book by Stephen Vincent the other day!

from "Walking" by Stephen Vincent (Junction Press, Northampton, 1993, p. 10)

"1966. Nsukka, Nigeria.
About 2 in the morning.
A snake. A dark snake
as thick as my leg
breaks into the bedroom.
leaps up from the bottom
of my bed, goes right through
the mosquito net and the sheets.
I must fight for my life.
Its teeth sink into
my upper arm. Violently
my body whips and rolls right through
to the floor. The snake
is as long as my body. I run
screaming into the living room,
running in circles, screaming
for someone to help. Finally
my right hand is able to reach
the light. I slap on the switch.
Dazed, I look at my left hand.
It is gripped, like a wrench,
about my upper right arm."

Thursday, August 14

Thanks, Li! You put a smile on my face this morning!
The other day I went to Moe's Books and found the new edition of Antonio Porchia's aphorisms, translated by W.S. Merwin, called "Voices." Here's a little bouquet of them to put on your desk this morning. Maybe they will ease the tedium and torment of your day maybe not, but at least they will make it a bit more interesting!

"Without this ridiculous vanity that takes the form of self-display, and is a part of everything and everyone, we would see nothing, and nothing would exist."

"Not believing has a sickness which is believing a little."

"Nothing that is complete breathes."

"When the superficial wearies me, it wearies me so much, I need an abyss in order to rest."

"He who does not fill his world with phantoms remains alone."

"Sometimes I find that misery is so vast I am afraid of needing it."

"The mystery brings peace to my eyes, not blindness."

"That in man which cannot be domesticated is not his evil but his goodness."

"Man, when he does not grieve, hardly exists."

"They will say you are on the wrong road, if it is your own."

"We have a world for each one, but not a world for all."

"Everyone thinks that his things are not like all the things in the world. And that is why everyone keeps them."

"When there is no treasure to show, night is a treasure."

"No one understands you have given everything. You must give more."

"I love you as you are. But do not tell me how that is."

"Yes, I will go. I would rather grieve over your absence than over you."

"When you made me into another, I left you with me."

"It is a long time that I asked heaven for anything, and still my arms have not come down."

"The loss of a thing affects us until we have lost it altogether."

"You are sad because they abandon you and you have not fallen."

"Whatever I take, I take too much or too little; I do not take the exact amount. The exact amount is of no use to me."

"When one does not love the impossible, one does not love anything."

"The fear of separation is all that unites."

"When you seem to be listening to my words, they seem to be your words, with me listening."

"I would go to heaven, but I would take my hell; I would not go alone."

"A large heart can be filled with very little."

"The love that is not all pain is not all love."

"Words that have been said to me at other times I hear now."

"He who makes a paradise of his bread makes a hell of his hunger."

"The dream that is not fed with dream disappears."

"I also had a summer and burned myself in its name."


Hegel- aesthetics-p.13
Art as idea*(concept)
(also Duchamp)

in the context of the "tyranny" of
the triumph of
narrative is the triumph of empirical
data- the Journal- journalism
the *account*- Derrida speaks
of the account also

leaving narrative- to the poem-
off the page!-
paradoxical return to the narrative
to the *oral* (psychoanalytic
dialogue as "narrative"


In the same way as art- psychoanalysis
is reducing itself to a narrative makes
itself secondary to science


identity (narrative)

narrative as a persuasive tactic

on 5/8 I wrote= "There are many
indications that our time-boundedness
is partly brought about by our dependence
on narrative detail to substantiate
our shared perceptions"

But today I am thinking again about
collaboration. It is the true anti-dote
to competition, debate and warfare:
[account by Shrodinger-describing

In writing- direct collaboration-
where two or more authors write the

Science itself is the most exciting
and substantive intellectual collaboration
in contemporary life. But science
nullifies itself insofar as it is
also competitive and ultimately bound
by the power relations of the society
in which it exists. Collaborations
between artists of various media
and instrumentality have produced
artistic situations during certain
[turn of the century]

End piece-perhaps the turn of this


Narration and the Problem of Reality

[what is unreal defining what is real and therefore
the responsibility for the unreal] has now
been almost completely transferred to
science.The contemporary artist bears
some of the legacy of the priest and shaman,
but our deepest hopes and expectations point to an apotheosis now in
the direction of science. This
confusion, this universal transference
(in both senses, that of child to parent, and
a movement of emphasis from system
building to the model of
experimentalism) has left us reeling
and all the more wary of any complacency.
Under great
pressure in this age, more than any other,
the artist stands to science as his or her
ancestors stood to philosophy. The problem
is where is the philosophy of life? Where
does this philosophizing take place?


"Towards and Experiential Syntax" (8/24/84)

As I write, I hear more harmonies than
I can usually remember or keep track

Use the music of Bach as an example
of the experience of thought's ability to
couinter-balance and interrelate modalities.


Time is the space between experiences.
In dreams time is represented by space,
relationships between distances
come to be the equivalent in daytime
experience of a much
broader range of relationships. This is
the reason that dreams appear tohave
such a naturally laconic quality.
Dreams measure by means of an internal
scale of comparative values.

Dreams ennable the dreamer to sort out
comparative realms of experience by utilizing
an inner scale of values superimposed
on a symbolic representation of experience.


Duration of the analysis

see note in procrastination notebook
5/8/84-for good lead in from
sentence regarding modes of experience in
relation to symbolic construction to issue
of free association [and the enlarged perspective idea/}

The notion of substantiating reality by
means of empirical verification

Somehow this connects- intuitively with
the Atomic bomb (destroy-destroy)

Splitting moment from moment also
causes a chain reaction of energy

We do live inside a prison-house of


Now it is several times I've thoughtof
using the Einstein-Bohr debates as a
model for underlying metaphysical
problems in the area of theory. This
impasse resolved via Heisenberg's
Indeterminacy principle. By keeping
the traditional Deistic metaphysics Einstein
claimed that concepts were "free creations
of the mind" and physical phenomena,
ultimately under the guidance of
the Higher Powers or Fate itself,
could yet reveal subtle, yet eternal
laws. Counter to this, Heisenberg
proposed a visionof the physical
lineage shaped by the human perceptual

8/4 N Truro

[Thought: The narrative is only the beginning of the story]

Afterthoughts: Stories abound everywhere, moment to moment.

Narratives weave them together into a questionable
cloth (textile: texture; text). The narrative is
a melody, the story, a tonality.
It's a damn shame that Nada Gordon feels that no one loves her because she is unquestionably one of the most loveable people I've ever met.

So it is time to invoke my current favorite aphorism.

When publishers fail, they fail at being readers.
When readers fail they fail at being listeners.
When writers fail, they fail at being lovers.

Therefore: all Nada's writer friends are failing her!

Wednesday, August 13

Why not brush up on your Spanish by reading Heriberto Yepez? It's RealiTi
Unfortunately, I'll miss this, since I will be back in New York on August 22cd, but I got this email from Chris Stroffolino and happened to have heard his band at 21 Grand. It's EXCELLENT:

Hey all from Continuous Peasant---

Saturday August 30th is traditionally a time of troubles
If you feel you've wasted the summer or something
or are just not "hip" enough to have a date to "burning man"
or have to work on "labor day"....

but, Continuous Peasant feels your pain...
and so does the Starry Plough
and maybe even the DeSoto Reds and The Rich McCulley Band do too....

And even if we're too busy feeling OUR pain to feel your pain,
we are really excited about the eastbay release party for our new CD
and the party is actually IN Babyville, I mean, Berkeley

3101 Shattuck (very close to Oakland border).
We play around 9:30 (which means they still serve food when we play!!!!!)

And if you bring a printout of THIS EMAIL to the show,
we will sell you the CD for HALF-PRICE (which means $5 rather than $10).
(offer invalid with any other offer)

for more info, check out www.continuouspeasant.com
Want to polish up your French? Read Kill me again
Beautiful Blogs

Don't miss The Jetty...Cassie Lewis for Sunday, August 10.
On Sunday, August 10 thanks to Cynthia Sailers, Tanya Brolaski, Patrick Durgin and the New Brutalists, I gave a poetry reading with Patrick Durgin at 21 Grand, an ample, comfortable performance space located at 449 B 23rd Street in Oakland. Please note that on August 24th Kasey S. Mohammed and Noah Eli Gordon will be reading there.

I want to thank Johanna Rauhala, Stephanie Young, Kasey S. Mohammed, Catherine Meng and .Jean Gier for not only attending the reading but for so generously discussing this event on their exciting weblogs!

Thanks also to Toni Simon and friends for their support, wisdom and stellar patience with me!

I also want to thank those that came to the reading for coming and for their kind attention in the (rare) August Oakland heat! And to those that came out to the Oasis with us afterwards, thanks for your spirit!

Needless to say, this event will be remembered and treasured by me forever.

(Apologies to my friend Li Bloom for the oversupply of tangerine fizz!)

Tuesday, August 12


The success of language can be
directly attributed to the fact that
words stimulate other words. This
is what Steve McCaffery has called
"a general economy."

The energy of this exchange, in the
long run, keeps increasing- and, as
with money, inflating. Since obtaining energy, was a
part of initiating a language in the
first place, this never becomes a problem,
in fact, it's a gain. The loss consists
of a loss of interest in the intrinisic
properties of a medium. This is exactly
what is happening with language now. It
is very possible that the entire educational
system is a continuously expanding (and
succeeding) institution created to avoid
this loss. It is also possible that at the
expanding outer rings of this educational
system, other terms are being negotiated
that disrupt this system in
beneficial ways (ultimately, but in the
immediate action, traumatic).

Inflation, doubt, lack, emptiness,
hollowness, inauthenticity: all
paradoxically created by the holding high
of something unnecessary, like a king, like
a queen, the support of an additional
burden which has outlived its usefulness.
Language, seen from this perspective is not
empty or corrupted, it is held down
by subjects masquerading some false
use-value. But don't we really suspect
that language does not need to perpetuate
all its subjects but needs invention
instead? If this is true, what language
needs is not a good speaker but a good

America thrives on invention, not
inventors. There is a pleasure in this
that subjects lack.

Woe to the inventors who enjoy the
status of their invention more than
the invention itself. We like to allow
one of each inventor- this necessitates
an obfuscation in the value of the inventor's
interests. Perhaps Duchamp
and Einstein were immobilized by this
in America.


It is hard to pit a
union of parts against another. We
pit a name against a name.


When it stops working tell me.
I'll know when I stop working.


The transfer of attentional energies
accompanies all transfer of meanings.
Advertising's succcess is based on this.
All writing also must deal with this most
anticipated event.


Isn't it also your awareness of
my forgetfulness, my lack of
a certain kind of attention
that leaves gaps for you to fill
in, that assures you of my
sincerity? Sincerity implies that
I will leave open certain areas,
just as it imples that I will
attend to some, or inhabit some.


"He points to a greater specificity in
Coleridge's details, thus revealing a
closer, more faithful observation of the
outside object.But this finer attention
given to the natural surfaces is
accompanied, paradoxically enough, by
a greater inwardness,by experiences of
memory and of reverie that stem from
deeper regions of subjectivity than the
earlier writer. How this closer attention
to surfaces engenders greater depth remains
(De Man